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Hartford Construction Accident Attorney

For the residents of Hartford, Connecticut, construction sites are a testament to growth and progress. Yet, with these opportunities also come risks. A sudden accident at a job site can change a life in the blink of an eye.

If this strikes close to home, you’re not alone. Many have faced the aftermath of such accidents and sought the expertise of a Hartford construction accident lawyer to guide them through the legal maze. By understanding your rights and securing the proper legal representation, you can focus on recovery while ensuring you get the justice you deserve.

How Often and Why Do Construction Accidents Occur?

Construction is undeniably one of the most hazardous industries in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction sector accounts for a significant percentage of work-related fatalities each year, showcasing the inherent risks involved in this line of work. In 2021, there were 5,190 fatalities on construction sites, and this was an 8.9% increase from 2020’s numbers. Additionally, 2021’s 3.6 fatal occupational injury rate was the highest recorded since 2016.

Interestingly, Connecticut has managed to maintain a comparatively lower rate of construction-related fatalities. A report from January 2023 showed that Connecticut’s rate was the second lowest in the nation, underscoring the state’s efforts toward ensuring safety in the construction industry.

But why do these accidents occur in the first place? From falls from heights and machinery accidents to fires and chemical exposures, the risks are multifaceted. Often, our construction accident attorneys in Hartford see these accidents happen due to safety violations such as inadequate fall protection, faulty machinery, or insufficient training. Connecticut’s safety regulations aim to mitigate these dangers, but lapses in adherence or oversight can lead to devastating consequences for workers.

What Are the Common Types of Accidents Construction Workers Have?

The bustling environment of construction sites, with their machinery and the constant worker movement, inherently presents various risks. While safety protocols are vital, accidents do happen, and the consequences can range from minor injuries to life-threatening situations. Here are some of the most common accidents which our Hartford construction accident lawyers see that workers face:

  • Caught-between accidents – The dangers increase exponentially when workers get placed between stationary and moving objects. This can be a worker caught between pieces of machinery or pinned against a wall by a moving vehicle, which can result in devastating crush injuries or even death.
  • Crane or hoist accidents  Cranes and hoists are essential for lifting heavy loads on construction sites. Due to their sheer size and complexity, any failure or operator error can result in collapses, dropped loads, or even toppling, putting everyone in the area in danger.
  • Dangerous chemical or toxin exposure – Construction sites often house various chemicals and toxins. Workers can face exposure if they don’t follow the proper safety protocols, resulting in immediate burns, respiratory complications, or even long-term health issues such as chronic illnesses or cancers.
  • Electrocutions  With so many electrical components involved, exposed wires or faulty equipment can easily result in a fatal shock. It serves as a stark reminder of the importance of routine equipment inspections and worker training.
  • Elevator shaft accidents – Elevators that are incomplete or malfunctioning can be deadly. Workers are at risk of falling into open shafts or becoming entangled in the moving parts of a construction elevator.
  • Falling objects – Overhead work poses a constant risk. Tools, construction materials, or even debris that fall can cause severe injuries to workers below, emphasizing the importance of helmets and safety gear.
  • Falls from heights – Falls are one of the “fatal four” accidents our Hartford construction attorneys see the most. Whether on a scaffold, a ladder, or a building’s edge, falling from a height is one of the most common and lethal construction accidents. Inadequate railings or faulty safety equipment can turn a minor slip into a tragic fall.
  • Forklift accidents – Forklifts, though essential, can be dangerous. Operator errors, mechanical failures, or even lapses in judgment can lead to tip-overs, collisions, or workers getting pinned.
  • Gas leaks, fires, and explosions – Flammable materials and gases are commonplace on construction sites. A single spark from faulty wiring or mishandling can ignite a catastrophic fire or explosion.
  • Machinery accidents – If left unguarded or malfunctioning, large machines with moving parts can trap, cut, or amputate limbs, highlighting the need for regular maintenance and safety training.
  • Repetitive stress injuries – The repetitive nature of some construction tasks can wear down a worker’s body over time, leading to conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or other musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Slips and falls – Construction sites can have potential hazards everywhere. Wet surfaces, stray tools, or uneven grounds can lead to unexpected slips or trips, resulting in minor bruises and severe fractures.
  • Struck-by accidents  Workers can get struck by a range of things – from falling tools to swinging equipment or even moving vehicles on site. Such incidents can result in blunt force injuries or worse.
  • Trench accidents – Many construction projects require deep excavations or trenches. However, if not reinforced or shored correctly, these can collapse, burying workers beneath and posing suffocation or crush injury risks.

Additionally, many accidents occur in roadway work zones. These areas, bustling with both vehicular traffic and construction activity, are especially prone to accidents. For comprehensive information on ensuring safety in these zones, the Connecticut Department of Transportation provides valuable insights on work zone safety awareness. Things like consistently following safety protocols, staying alert, and obeying road crew flaggers are crucial in minimizing risks and ensuring a safer work environment. If you do sustain injuries while on the job, contact an experienced Hartford construction accident attorney to guide you through the legal process and help you figure out your next steps.

Understanding Connecticut Workers’ Rights and OSHA Standards

Are you working on a construction site in Connecticut? It’s essential to understand both your rights and the standards the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets. OSHA has stringent standards designed to ensure the safety of workers not just nationally but also specifically in Connecticut. Any breaches of these OSHA-prescribed rules get taken very seriously. In fact, repeated violations can attract fines of over $100,000 for each violation.

Negligence Due to OSHA Violation

If you suffered an injury due to an OSHA violation at a construction site, you might have a valid claim for compensation. In Connecticut, if you’re filing a lawsuit after a construction accident, the responsibility lies with you (the plaintiff) to demonstrate fault. This includes proving that there was an obligation for a person or entity to maintain safety at the job site and a failure in this duty led to your injury. Interestingly, any OSHA violation can be “negligence per se,” meaning just proving the violation can be enough to establish fault in your lawsuit. An experienced construction accident lawyer in Hartford can help walk you through the process.

Top OSHA Violations to Watch For

While dozens of potential OSHA violations exist, some stand out much more than others. To give you an idea, here are the top 10 OSHA violations recorded in Connecticut and the US in 2017:

  • Electrical wiring methods – The reported 1,405 violations in this category involve incorrect wiring installation, the use of substandard materials, or a failure to maintain safe and up-to-date wiring methods.
  • Fall protection – Often coming from stairs or other elevated surfaces having unguarded edges or open sides, there were 6,072 violations.
  • Fall protection — training requirements – These violations (1,523 that year) usually occur when employers fail to provide workers with adequate training on the proper use of fall protection equipment and protocols, resulting in unsafe practices.
  • Hazard communication – Issues like unlabeled hazardous materials or lack of training caused 4,176 reported violations.
  • Ladders – The 2,241 violations in this category came from misusing ladders in some way while working around a construction site.
  • Lockout or tagout – The 2,877 recorded violations in this category were from a lack of employee training or site inspection.
  • Machine guarding – Point-of-operation hazards were the primary culprits in the recorded 1,933 violations for machine guarding.
  • Powered industrial trucks – Violations in this category (totaling 2,162) were mainly for not retraining forklift drivers every three years or operators not being certified.
  • Respiratory protection – Not having a documented respiratory protection plan caused 3,097 violations in 2017.
  • Scaffolding – Often due to missing guardrails or poor scaffold construction, sustaining injuries from working on or around scaffolding resulted in 3,288 violations.

You can browse this overview of labor laws by the Connecticut Labor Department for more in-depth information. For a deep dive into Connecticut’s OSHA standards, CONN-OSHA provides vital insights about occupational safety and health.

If you’re considering filing a workers’ compensation claim, the Workers’ Compensation Rights, Responsibilities, and Claims will walk you through the necessary steps. Still, we strongly recommend you contact a Hartford construction accident attorney at Hassett & George, P.C. for professional guidance. Staying informed can be your best defense against potential hazards and ensure you take steps to uphold your rights.

Connecticut Liability and Negligence Laws

Connecticut law strongly emphasizes the responsibility and accountability of all parties involved in the construction industry, particularly when it comes to accidents and injuries.

The principle that a court can hold a general contractor accountable if their negligence causes a construction worker to sustain injuries is at the heart of Connecticut’s approach. This accountability stems not only from direct actions but also from the level of control they have over the project, particularly when it comes to safety standards and protocols.

Also, this sense of responsibility extends beyond just the workers. If you are an innocent bystander and sustain an injury while present on a construction site, the court could hold the general contractor or the project’s owner liable.

To put the importance of safety in context, let’s consider some national figures. OSHA reported that of the 4,188 work-related fatalities in private industry in 2011, 738 were in construction. Delving deeper, the primary culprits behind these tragedies were the “Fatal Four”:

  1. Falls
  2. Electrocutions
  3. Incidents of being struck by an object
  4. Caught-in/between situations

These “fatal four” were responsible for nearly 60% of construction worker deaths that year. Given the intricacies of litigation in construction site injuries, it’s essential to retain a Hartford construction accident lawyer if you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation. Although first compensation offers might seem appealing, they frequently don’t reflect the actual value of your claim. Before making any decisions, consult a lawyer to ensure your rights are well-protected and you receive fair compensation.

In Connecticut, the state designed the workers’ compensation system as no-fault. This means if you sustain injuries at work, you’re entitled to benefits, no matter who caused the injury. However, there’s a trade-off: you can’t sue your employer for the accident.

Can I Sue My Employer for a Construction Accident Injury in Hartford?

The law mandates that most employers in Connecticut carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance provides various benefits, including the following:

  • Additional disability benefits for eligible individuals
  • Career counseling and rehabilitation services
  • Death benefits if a worker dies from job-related causes
  • Medical costs related to the job injury or sickness
  • Partial wage replacement of up to 75% of the average weekly earnings

However, there are certain damages, like reduced earning ability and pain, that workers’ compensation doesn’t cover. You’d need to show that third parties are at fault to get total compensation for these damages after a construction accident.

Third-Party Responsibility in Construction Accidents

It can be challenging to figure out who is to blame for construction accidents. Many parties could be involved, making it hard to pinpoint the fault. If you’ve sustained injuries on the job, you should immediately contact a Hartford construction accident attorney. They can help investigate the cause of the accident and who may be liable for damages. While your employer is off-limits for lawsuits related to workplace injuries, you could hold other parties accountable. Potential third parties include:

  • Premises owners – If owners have control over a site during construction, they should ensure it’s safe. The injured party can sue them if their negligence results in a worker’s injury.
  • Contractors and subcontractors – The main contractor should ensure the site follows OSHA standards and local safety regulations. Subcontractors, too, have responsibilities related to their project role. If their negligence causes an accident that results in an injury, you can hold them accountable.
  • Engineers and architects – Faulty design plans or specs can sometimes lead to workplace injuries. If professionals responsible for these designs are negligent, you can hold them liable. This includes situations where they oversee safety practices, and their negligence causes harm.
  • Product and equipment manufacturers – Construction relies heavily on tools, machinery, and materials. If any of these have defects causing injuries, you can file a claim against the manufacturer.

Hartford, CT

Hartford, the vibrant heart of Connecticut, is always buzzing with new construction projects. From infrastructural developments to building renovations, many initiatives are aimed at making the city even more dynamic. Take a moment to check out the city’s current projects, including Slow Streets – Neighborhood Traffic Calming, Goodwin Park Entrance and Maple Avenue Streetscape, Albany Ave Sidepath, and the Franklin Avenue and Maple Avenue Streetscape Improvements Project. You’ll notice the dedication towards modernizing and beautifying our beloved Hartford.

During all this construction, it’s worth noting that many accidents happen in roadway work zones, emphasizing the importance of safety protocols for workers and residents.

For workers who’ve faced the misfortune of injuries, Hartford is home to top-tier recovery and rehabilitation centers. At Hartford HealthCare, individuals are offered a broad range of services, from general physical therapy to specialized rehabilitation, ensuring everyone receives tailored care to facilitate their healing journey.

Meanwhile, musculoskeletal injuries, which are common in construction accidents, find dedicated attention at Hartford Orthopedic Medicine. This institution stands out for its personalized treatment strategies, focusing on alleviating pain and restoring function.

Another beacon of hope for injured workers is Greater Hartford Physical Therapy. With its holistic approach to rehabilitation, this center ensures that workers regain their physical strength and confidence toward a wholesome recovery.

Lastly, combining traditional healing methodologies with modern therapeutic techniques, Hartford Physical Medicine offers a unique blend of care. Each patient’s recovery process is optimized, ensuring a swift and effective return to health.

Every construction worker contributes to Hartford’s growth and must have access to the best care when needed. If you or someone you know is facing challenges after a construction-related injury, don’t hesitate to reach out to these resources. Your health and well-being are paramount.

Experienced Hartford Law Firm

If you’re involved in a construction accident, it can be physically and legally challenging. But with Hassett & George by your side, you’re not alone. Our seasoned team of Hartford construction accident lawyers is renowned in Connecticut for their unparalleled expertise in handling construction accident cases. Their track record speaks volumes, consistently achieving favorable outcomes for clients and ensuring they receive the compensation they rightly deserve.

At Hassett & George, our commitment goes beyond just legal representation; we believe in providing compassionate counsel standing shoulder to shoulder with our clients through every step of their recovery journey. Entrust your case to us, and experience the difference of partnering with Hartford’s best.

In addition to Hartford our attorneys also serve: Simsbury, Glastonbury, New Britain, Bridgeport, Waterbury, Danbury, Norwalk, Manchester, Windsor, Farmington, Windsor Locks, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, Avon, Bloomfield, Bristol, Enfield, Newington, South Windsor, Southington, Plainville and more.